"A Teapot in a Tempest" by Karen
The landscape tended to blur by in a multi-colored tapestry of sound and motion whenever she traveled, but that had long ceased to be a matter of novelty to the White Queen. It simply had become a matter of course, it was the way in which she had been made; a part of her nature.
In the back of her mind she thought about the odd and infrequent visitor, Alice, and her quaint notions. While the White Queen ran and ran. She cut diagonally across the black and white tiled squares that made up the terrain. All the while, her fingers unconsciously went through the motion of keeping her knitting needles going, back and forth, back and forth.
She passed over the countryside, her feet never seeming to make more than a passing acquaintance with the ground, the White Queen caught a momentary glimpse of her reflection in the silvery surface of a nearby river.
She brought her forward motion to a momentary halt and the frenzied motion of her fingers long enough to contemplate her reflection in the water.
The lines and the shadows under her eyes she had expected, but she was reasonably satisfied that it was her very own face and not that of the limpid eyed woebegone sheep it had worn a while back during her meeting with the little girl, Alice.
Opposite and to the left of where the White Queen stood in dreamy reflection, she heard a voice remark: "My, my, we are in quite a hurry, are we not?"
"You heard me," the voice of the unseen person replied with a disdainful sniff.
The White Queen looked up and all around before her gaze locked onto that of her counterpart, the Red Queen."You have some nerve, coming here, like this!" exclaimed the White Queen.
"Quick! Hurry and take your departure before someone notices and reports your presence on this side of the board!"
"Your concern is notable but groundless,■ replied the Red Queen. "I am quite safe, I assure you. In point of fact I have been waiting at this river crossing for quite some time."
"Yes, do tell.," The White Queen's interest was piqued in spite of her own reservations.
"I think I shall," replied the Red Queen. "You see, it is you I have come to speak with, after all. It would be a shame to waste the opportunity. Come over to this side of the river." She invited.
"Well, I think I shall," replied the White Queen and nimbly hopped over to the far side of the riverbank.
"Would you care for some tea?" the other queen invited, waving with an airy casual air at the silver tea set on a silver tray at her feet.
The other woman nodded and brought tea set close enough to pick up the pot, pour two steaming cups full of the hot liquid and pass one to the other. For a few moments all that could be heard in the hush was the sighing of the wind in the leaves, the sipping of tea, and the sound of the river flowing by, accompanied by their own breathing.
"How's the tea? They broke the hush almost simultaneously, then set down their teacups to share a bit of laughter.
"It would seem that our thoughts run parallel to each other, while our lives seldom intersect,. The Red Queen observerd in a neutral tone of voice. "Do you suppose that there is something profound in that?"
"I have often given the matter some thought," mused the White Queen,■ however, the study of philosophy has never been one of my strong points; such things are best left to scholars."
"Perhaps that is best, I think. I have often attended such scholarly forums," mused the Red Queen, "enough to come to one very wise conclusion, which is this: Make Philosophy your evening guest, but do not, in any wise or circumstance, allow her to stay for the evening."
The White Queen nodded in agreement. "Quite so, quite so."
"All this to the side," said the Red Queen briskly," "that is not to the point."
She quickly brushed off the dirt and sticks and grass that had accumulated on the hem of her skirt from the long wait by the riverbank and got to her feet. "I came here to tell you something, my dear, and I shall do so. Now then."
"I await with all due anticipation.
The White Queen allowed a small smile to slip past her careful composure. Whether she knew it or not the Red Queen's comments could be interpreted as somewhat tart and grating to a person of a more sensitive demeanor than her own. Of course, she had known the Red Queen for a long time and was not put off by the harsh tone of the remarks.
"That is to be expected and is in fact gratifying, but the first lesson I which to impart is; never lose sight of dignity. Which at this moment the impact of which is slightly marred by own my scruffy appearance, so lesson one: Do as I say, not as I do!"
"That is as spoken."
The Red Queen nodded. "Now then, lesson two: Take a breather once in a while, it will do you good and it can certainly do no harm."
The White Queen nodded."You certainly have given the matter some thought."
"And the last and final lesson.," she paused and glanced around before turning her attention back to the White Queen. "Perhaps this is t a lesson after all, but more friendly advice from one queen to another."
She sighed and added: "I might advise combing your hair out, it is all tousled and mussed by the wind and speed of your own passage."
"It was good of you to think of me, and take your the time out of your busy affairs," replied the White Queen politely
"I do not know if it was or not, my mood is often fickle and wayward, but you are welcome nevertheless,■ replied the Red Queen. With that she straightened up, brushed her fingers through her own mop of auburn hair. Then with a quick jolt and a step forward she air kissed the White Queen on both cheeks. Making a bird-like trill all the while.
"Farewell, Farewell, I do not suppose that we shall see each other again until the final square!
"Farewell to you as well!" replied the White Queen as she watched the other queen vanish into the oncoming mist of early dawn with the sun just beginning to peep over the line of the tree-break.
Later on the White Queen mused on all that she had been told for a bit, idly dipping her fingers into the rushing river water until the urge to move became too overwhelming to resist. She got up and continued her erratic course across the landscape, only this time with her own thoughts for company. She smiled and wondered where exactly she had packed her ivory-handled comb.